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Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  Lounge review : BlackBerry Leap

BlackBerry’s latest smartphone has arrived in India. It runs the company’s latest operating system, BlackBerry 10 OS, (version) 10.3.1. The BlackBerry Leap is a full touch-screen phone and succeeds the Z10, Z30 and Z3.

The good stuff

The Leap is a compact phone that nestles nicely in the hand. It is possible to type out an SMS with the same hand that is holding the phone—rare among new smartphones. The design is functional but not visually appealing.

The 5-inch LCD screen is richer and brighter than previous BlackBerry phones, which means improved visibility in sunlight. The resolution is 1,280x720 pixels, which isn’t the highest, but the text clarity makes up for any other shortcomings.

The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core 1.5 GHz, which is not blazingly fast. But the new BlackBerry 10 operating system works smoothly, and apps open without any lag. With 2 GB RAM, you can easily open three-four apps at the same time. There is 16 GB internal storage, and the microSD slot supports cards with up to 128 GB more.

The best feature of the BlackBerry 10 OS is the Hub, where all the messages, mails and notifications show up. You can customize the hub in many ways, making sure you see only the mails and social media updates you want to.

BlackBerry still remains the best platform for receiving email on your phone—our test mails consistently showed up on the Leap at least a few seconds before they did on an Android phone. BlackBerry also has what is possibly the best on-screen keyboard among all smartphones right now.

The ability to install some Android apps adds a lot of flexibility. The Amazon Appstore comes preloaded. But not all the Android apps will work because some require access to Google Play services (only found in Android phones).

BlackBerry 10 is quite frugal when it comes to battery consumption. The Leap’s 2,800 mAh battery lasts almost two days if you are careful about screen brightness and use it for voice calls, messages, Web browsing and email.

The not-so-good

The Leap is heavy—it tips the scales at 170g, which is heavier than the Z3 and Z10. The power key is placed at the top, which is not ideal in a tall phone.

Some features have been culled, perhaps to keep the cost down. There is no near field communication (NFC) or HDMI out port—we don’t miss the former, but the latter is a convenient way of hooking the phone up to a TV or projector.

An 8-megapixel camera doesn’t seem powerful, but this one can capture crisp images. Its low-light performance is slightly better than the ones on previous BlackBerry touch-screen phones. But the camera still has some way to go before it can match its Android competition (the Asus Zenfone 2, for example).

Talk plastic

The Leap is priced at 21,490. It costs $275 ( 17,584 approx.) globally.

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